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Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

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  • Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

    Yesterday after I cut some tenons on my tablesaw I had to fit some drawer bottoms. As I trimmed one of the bottoms to fit, the 1/4" plywood lifted off the table. The bottom of the panel contacted the top of the sawblade, spun the panel, the corner of which slammed into my belt, twisted my left thumb and went winging across the shop. It happened so fast it was scarry. The bottom was ruined. So now I had to make another panel. I put a piece of 2'x4'x1/4" plywood on the saw table and started to made a cut. When the cut was almost completed the exact same thing happened. Except this time I also twisted my middle and ring finger on my left hand.

    I am not especially enamored of things flying around my shop when not propelled by me in a fit of frustration and I have an intense dislike of personal injury. So, before the third cut, I walked around to the back of the 3650 and reinstalled the blade guard I had removed before I cut the tenons. It took at most 30 seconds.

    Two things crossed my mind after the incident. One was something an old foreman used to say when things went bad, " I would ask what you were thinking but I know you weren't." The other was a tag someone used to use on this forum a few years ago, " Its a tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are."

    Tom

  • #2
    Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

    Tom

    I'm glad you didn't get seriously injured. Yes to blade guards.

    Here are some things you may want to check and think about.

    1. How much above the plywood was the top of your blade? You need about 3/8 - 1/2 blade above the plywood. If less, it's all too easy to end up with kickback issues.

    2. Check your fence measuring from a blade tip to the fence with the tip as far forward and then rearward as you can have it and measure. My point is that you want the rear of the fence to be just a hair farther from the blade than the front. If not, you can have binding up issues.

    3. Sometimes a person has to do stuff on his/her own, but it's good to have a trained adult helper stand behind the table saw and help guide the work along. Got to really watch hand placement too for sure.

    I'm sure others will come along with other safety tips and ideas.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

      " Its a table saw. Do you know where your fingers are."

      That was me, I used to use that tagline on my posts here. Along with a llink to the Power Tool Safety Institute's web site that has videos on the safe use of power tools.

      http://www.powertoolinstitute.com/safety.html

      Maybe it's time for me to bring it back.

      Glad you were not seriously injured.

      I'm also glad you restored the guard (eventually) after completing an operation where it had to be removed.

      I know we all find it tough to admit when we have done something wrong, especially when we know better, but if voicing those errors in judgment saves someone else from being more seriously injured, is it not worth it?

      At work we call this operating experience or OE for short. People are encouraged to share their experiences just as Tom did so they can be shared with others. Any personalizations are stripped out of the OE message so people retain some anonymity.
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

        Thin sheet goods are prime candidates for getting flung by a TS...BTDT! What you described is the type of situation that can lead to flesh getting pulled into the blade in the blink of an eye. The guard is good protection against it. A crosscut sled and hold downs can also help.

        Most of the time we get away with it and become complacent. Your post is a "low cost" reminder...thanks for posting about it. Glad your fingers are intact.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

          Tom W- may I ask you a question, how high was your blade set when you were cutting your sheet? That also can bring in a bad situation. I do believe the rule of thumb is to see 4 teeth above your work, could that contributed to the miss hap. Glad your alright....
          Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

          http://www.contractorspub.com

          A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

            I got caught in the belt buckle by one of those little square frisbees too. Same setup, thank God for big belt buckles. I got a worse bruise from that than any I received in 12 years of football.
            Only a surfer knows the feeling. Billabong ca. 1985 or so

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

              I'm really glad you weren't seriously injured, Tom! I was reluctant to read the post after seeing the title. It's helpful to have these reminders, and I thank you for taking the time to post your experience.

              We used to call things like this "self-correcting errors." Fortunately, you were able to keep the body parts and fixed the error without lasting reminders. Usually, it's self-correcting in that you no longer have whatever body part after the error.
              I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

                Thank you to everyone who has supported my healing and for all the hints and suggestions to make the shop a safer place.

                Here is what I have done today:

                I measured the distance from the saw blade to the fence at both the foward and rearward positions. I had just checked that everything was aligned before my current project. The distance hasn't changed it is exactly parallel. I now know that is wrong and will move the fence so that it is slightly farther away from the fence at the rear.

                I have not moved the blade since yesterday. I checked the blade set distance above the plywood. A couple months ago in another forum I remember seeing a post from someone who indicated that Freud suggested the blade be set at about 1/2 a tooth above the material. In the past I had my blade set so that about 1/3 of the blade was above the material. I reset my blade as the poster indicated and have had nothing but problems. The wood pushes back and I didn't like the force needed to overcome the blade cutting resistance. But can Freud be wrong? So I continued. Maybe I misread the post or maybe the poster mistyped. Either way I am going back to raising the blade about 1/2 way above the material.

                I have a commercially available sled "A Dubby" the accuracy of which I like very much, but I normally only use it to cut small pieces. I will use it more often now.

                As I reflected on my actions that may have contributed to the accident I wonder if I created the problem. I was standing on the right side of the saw, a 3650. In both instances I had my right hand holding the panel very tightly against the fence and was pushing the panel with my left hand. I know that using the rip fence and miter gague together is a recipe for disaster. But in essence that is what I was doing with my hands. The margain for error was eliminated.

                The question I have is how much compensation in measuring is required if I set the back end of the rip fence a little away from the blade? Will I have to add 1/64, 1/32 more or less to my cuts to make them so they fit?

                Thank you again for everyone's concern.

                Tom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

                  Tom

                  It's the front of the blade that's doing the cutting. Measure with care from a tooth tip that's towards the fence and with it just above the table surface. You only need the rear of the fence a few 1/1000 inch father right than the front. Some pros like a dead square fence. I think they are asking for trouble, but that's my opinion. It's a good idea to cut some scraps to check your measurements. It's been some time since I've owned a table saw and that one had an old timer Delta double rail fence that clamped both front and rear rails. It took some getting used to and careful setup, but once clamped it did stay put. As for the 1/2 tooth post, that's just begging for kickback. While if a blade is say 1 inch or more above the work, you can saw off a finger fast, Anything less than about 3/8" is going to have kickback problems. I'm sure the exacts depend on what you're cutting and the blade design. One thing you might want to look into is the hook angle of your blade. Some are very agressive and can get on the dangerous side. Good luck and if something in your mind just doesn't seem right, take a little time to think it over. Anything to save yourself is well woth it.
                  Last edited by Woussko; 02-18-2007, 09:57 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

                    I have tried a number of saw blades on my 3650 and the one I like best and use most is Ridgids 90 tooth thin kerf blade, I use their 100 tooth 12" on my miter saw and don't especially like the cut. I don't know what the hook angle is but I will most certainly check.

                    Thanks,
                    Tom

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Its A Tablesaw. Do you know where your fingers are?

                      My experience with cutting thin stock, particularly with a fine tooth blade, is that the rear of the blade has a tendency to lift the piece off the table (more teeth also equate to more side friction). Once it gets under the kick-back pawls, the problem disappears, not because they are preventing it coming forward, but because they are pressing it down. The higher you have the blade, the more pronounced this problem is, because the rear teeth are pushing almost straight up. The cut kerf is only as wide as the teeth, so there is still side friction as the cut passes the rear teeth. A fence running toward the blade at the back will make the problem worse, but angling it away will just allow the outside edge to do the same thing.
                      A larger flat rubber bottom push block (like those used on a jointer) will keep pressure down on a wider board like a drawer bottom. For narrower pieces, I use a jig that lets me use a pushblock that holds the work down on the edge, or use a feather board on the fence. If you use a sled, it is best to put a piece across the work to keep it down tight to the sled base.
                      I am not preaching. I, too, have had a thin piece rise up and turn into a striking rattlesnake, and the finest blade I have used is only 60 teeth. Now I make sure the piece is prevented from climbing the blade.
                      Hope your bruises are bent fingers are now okay. and am very glad it wasn't more serious.
                      Go
                      Practicing at practical wood working

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